Mission Collectible

With apologies to Colonel Travis, I hereby submit this open letter confessing my addiction to all things Alamo.

To the people of Texas and all Americans in the world: I am besieged by a hundred or more Alamo-related doodads. I have sustained a continual bombardment of Alamo fever for decades and have not lost a souvenir—not a paper place mat, not a plaster plaque, not a cheap china tchotchke of any kind. But don’t bother coming to my aid with all dispatch. I am happily hooked on Alamo crapola.

And I am not alone. Plenty of baby boomers are afflicted with what I call “Alamania.” Blame it on Walt Disney, whose mid-fifties TV shows starring Fess Parker as Davy Crockett riveted an entire generation. Some of us were further infected in school, thanks to mandatory legend lessons (a.k.a. Texas history). Forty-five years later, nostalgia, native pride, and online antiques auctions sustain the craze.

Compared with some Alamaniacs, however, I’m a piker. For example, Murray Weissmann, a New Jersey radiologist, has so immense and pristine a collection—including signatures of Davy Crockett and Santa Anna—that a national tour of historical museums is in the works. Another fanatic is University of New Mexico historian Paul Hutton, whose collection started with his boyhood copy of the Dell comic Davy Crockett at the Alamo . Although Hutton favors items that show people being killed—“dead bodies are okay, but I prefer some action”—he can’t resist other objets d’art. At an Indiana flea market he once found an unopened package of boy’s underwear printed with pictures of Davy and the Alamo. “Tears welled up in my eyes,” Hutton recalls.

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